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  • Deanna Rietgraf, Director of Elementary Ministries

Good Friday

Good Friday is meaningful in such different ways for me year after year. God seems to always answer my prayer - that I walk through Lent with Him and see new aspects of what it was like for Jesus those last few weeks of His earthly life. One particular year the new aspect He gave me just knocked me off my feet. And the impact continues to pave into my heart the hugeness of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.




Our daughter Mikayla was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer at the age of 8. She started her 2nd 4 day in-hospital round of chemotherapy on March 31 and that was the round that really started wreaking havoc on her little body. By the 10th day home from the hospital Mikayla began showing signs of low platelets. Because of chemo she had been vomiting daily and it started to get bloody. She had her first bloody nose and then I saw bruises start developing on her legs for no real good reason. We headed to Blank Children’s Hospital to check her levels and sure enough she was going to need platelets. They moved us to their infusion center, hooked her up and started slowly dripping platelets into our girl’s port and body. We sat back to watch a movie and then shockingly she yelled out - and I will never forget - with such intensity, “It’s itching! It’s itching all over my legs!” When I pulled up her pant legs I found huge welts rising as I watched. I literally screamed, with equal intensity, for the nurse and within moments two of them were in the room and the doctor was not far behind. They quickly took her off the platelet IV and started her on a couple of different injections to get the reaction to stop. Before it was under control she had hives all over her sweet bald head, up and down her arms and legs and they were traveling to her chest. It was all so very unreal and scary for us. We were transferred to a hospital room and she continued on IV Benadryl for 24 hours. I cried so hard when she finally fell into a Benadryl-induced sleep, not wanting to believe this reality that we were now 35 days in.


Two days later happened to be Good Friday. And with incredible fear and anxiety for us, Mikayla, my parents (I took some extra backup this time) and I settled back into the infusion center because her platelet drop had obviously not been resolved. Mikayla fell asleep after they began a very healthy dose of Benadryl and then the IV began. My Mom looked over and said, “Let’s pray.” And then she did what she always does when we are fearful. She brought our fear to our Heavenly Father and asked Him to protect Mikayla and He answered that by giving her a clear infusion. She got what she needed and we were home in time to attend Good Friday service and hear Marty preach about the sacrifice of Jesus.


It was about then that I realized the significance of what had happened. She received lifesaving platelets that her body was unable to make. Someone gave of themselves so that on that day she would be “re-tanked” and able to play, celebrate and enjoy Easter weekend without fear of injury. This was something she could not do on her own. She would have died sooner or later without platelets.


But here it was, Good Friday, and the light bulb moment I had was that more importantly someone else also gave of Himself so that Mikayla could be “re-tanked” and able to play, celebrate and enjoy Easter weekend. Again, something she could not do on her own. Jesus, on that Good Friday over 2000 years ago, gave Himself up for her so that she could be forgiven of her sins, filled with incredible joy, loved for eternity and able to enjoy Him forever! I will never live through another Good Friday and not reflect on this.


He did this for you and me as well. He gave His blood so that we could be made new! So that we can celebrate and enjoy Easter Sunday. This is something we cannot do on our own. We can’t be good enough. We don’t have it in us – just as Mikayla had no way of producing platelets to save her. Jesus gave Himself up for us so that we could be forgiven of our sins, filled with incredible joy, loved for eternity and able to enjoy Him forever! Hallelujah, thank You Jesus! I pray that you take some time on Good Friday and reflect on Jesus and the life-saving blood that He poured out for you. He did this because His love for you is so great! Think deeply of that! His blood given for you is enough for all of your sin no matter how bad you label it. It is enough to take the shame you carry and pronounce that you are free!


“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!”

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11893 John F. Kennedy Rd, Dubuque, Iowa 52001
Services: Sundays 8:30am, 9:45am & 11am